Champaign approves settlement in police excessive force suit

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - City council members have signed off on a $225,000 settlement to a second lawsuit that accuses a Champaign police officer using excessive force.

The council approved the settlement unanimously Tuesday evening amid a demonstration that saw about 150 protesters march from the police station to the city building. Protesters called for the dismissal of officer Matt Rush and the approval of a civilian police review board.

Rush was accused by Benjamin Mann of using force to the point where he had to be hospitalized.

Police had responded to a call after Mann fought with his live-in girlfriend. Mann said the alleged injuries he received from Rush that night kept him from working for five months.

Rush faces separate lawsuits alleging the use of excessive force filed by three plaintiffs: William Brown, Mann and Kisica Seets.

Brown settled earlier this month for $25,000. A third complaint from Seets could come before the council soon.

According to documents released by police to the News-Gazette, Rush has been among the police department's leaders in both arrests made and use-of-force incidents.

Police Chief Anthony Cobb fired Rush in August 2014 for lying on police reports and misconduct that led to three separate internal investigations. But eight months later, Cobb was overruled by an arbitrator, who reduced Rush's termination to several suspensions.

Since Rush's reinstatement, Cobb said he has shown a willingness to learn from his past mistakes. The department has increased scrutiny and supervision for the officer, he added.

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